Ever since Johnny was young, he has worked hard. He grew up working on a farm and it wasn’t easy. Johnny would gather trailer loads of hay and corn, carry everything into a barn and stack it for storage to use during the winter to feed the cows, pigs and other farm animals.
As he grew up, he became a licensed mechanic and eventually became a master mechanic. With what he earned, he was able to provide for his wife and two children.
The hard labor 64-year-old Johnny endured for years has now affected his health.
“I farmed all my life, was raised on a farm. That’s why my body is worn out like it is,” Johnny said.
He began having knee problems before he turned 50. Johnny became disabled at age 55 when he had his first knee surgery. He has now had both of his knees replaced, but the surgeries weren’t able to return his mobility. He lives in constant pain; he can’t straighten his leg and he can only walk slowly.
“My left [leg] here, I’m constantly in pain with it. I have to constantly move it to keep it out of pain, so it won’t hurt me so bad,” Johnny said. “Getting up is my biggest problem. And standing for a little while, I can’t hold my balance real good, because the leg gives me a lot of pain.”
Unable to work, Johnny relies on his Social Security to help makes ends meet. Though he receives $16 a month in SNAP benefits, it’s not enough to provide for his family.
Johnny has been going to the Food Bank’s Partner Agencies for 10 years. He needs the food assistance more than ever now.
Recently, he took custody of his 7-year-old and 16-year-old granddaughters. With his wife bedridden due to fibromyalgia, bulging discs and static nerves she suffers from, it is up to Johnny to make sure his granddaughters are taken care of.
With help from his son and the Food Bank’s Mobile Food Pantry, Johnny is able to stretch his meals for his family. At the food distribution, he takes home a variety of food from meat, to canned fruit and vegetables and even fresh produce.
“It helps a whole lot. I’m not able to buy anything extra… I appreciate it very much. I’d like to help myself if I had the money to do it, but I appreciate everyone that helps the Food Bank,” Johnny said.
There are nearly 450,000 Central Texans like Johnny’s family who don’t know where their next meal will come from. One third of those are the most vulnerable among us: children, seniors and the disabled.
We can create a hunger-free community, but we need your help during the 24 hours of Amplify Austin to help close the 30 percent meal gap for three months. Give now to have your gift count towards Amplify Austin on February 28 to March 1.